Comcast flipping digital switch


Lauren Murchison turned on "The Today Show" on Wednesday morning, as she does every morning.

"But there was no signal, nothing," the Mount Pleasant resident said. "A little bit of panic set in. I didn't realize how dependent I was."

Then she remembered visiting her parents on Johns Island not long ago. They were installing the digital adapters they had received from Comcast. Murchison assumed she probably needed the adapters as well. She joined a steady flow of cable- company customers at the Mount Pleasant Comcast office in the afternoon and picked them up.

The company is upgrading its service by launching XFINITY in the Charleston area. The new system requires digital equipment, which customers can get free from the company for up to three TVs, said company spokesman Bill Ferry.

The average home has 2.8 TVs, he said, and in the majority of them, at least one television already is digital.

Comcast is rolling through the Charleston area, section by section, cutting off an analog signal and switching to digital. It shut off the analog signal in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday night, Ferry said.

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So far, about 60 percent of Charleston-area customers have been transferred to the new system, he said. The entire region will be completed by the middle of the year.

The new system will provide customers with more high- definition and digital channels, as well as more On Demand content, Ferry said. The number of channels a customer will get depends on the package they have ordered, he said. But most customers will get at least 50 more channels under the new system.

Customers are notified through the mail and by telephone as their neighborhoods are set to be upgraded, he said. But some people might not read the notices or listen to the messages, he said.

Murchison said she assumes the company sent her notices, but she probably didn't open them.